The scandal of of MPs expenses is being covered remarkably well all over the place and you now it’s bad when even Alistair Campbell is expressing dismay (hat tip http://plato-says.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-tomorrow-sucide-sunday.html”>Plato). Having spent the day in the garden I’m not going to let that stop me giving my tuppence worth (possibly now twenty pence worth after seasonal adjustment and inflation of two pounds if being claimed on an MP’s expenses). First off a huge tip of the tifter to Heather Brooke who as Anna Raccoon relates so well is the person that dragged the whole seconds homes thing out into the open.
What puzzles me most is the way that it seems generally accepted that this profligate abuse of the systems was actually “within the rules” and the subsequent calls for the system to be reformed. When looking at some of the most
blatant examples, they would appear to be well out side of the rules if not out right fraud and should have been refused if there had been decent enforcement. Of course that’s tricky if the person responsible for enforcing the rules is on the take as well. So the rules if kept should largely have sufficed it’s only due to our representatives doing what they could not what they should that has caused the problems, and trotting out the most pathetic of excuses whilst doing so.
Looking at which MPs have commented so far … very few. Tom Harris MP completely fails to get it – suggesting that “no-one in any line of work, would welcome the retrospective publication and critique of their expenses claims“, not realising that for the rest of us it would be no big deal as:
a) usually all expenses must have a receipt
b) Have to be purely for business reasons
c) Watched very carefully lest the tax man consider them a benefit in kind.
So really apart from people knowing that when working in some place I tend to eat the same lunch day after day and have equally dull habits abroad I really couldn’t care. But at least he acknowledges that “within the rules” is a really poor excuse.
However there are some good ‘uns out there Greg Hands MP is making all of his receipts available to inspection to his constituents at his surgery or on request (Hat tip Behind Blue Eye). Likewise Kate Hoey MP is standing up to condemn the actions of her fellow parliamentarians as is Kerry McCarthy MP. Still just the chirping of crickets from the opposition.
Meanwhile as the HMRC start to investigate MPs as they would rest of us to see if they’ve received benefits in kind, the corrupt troughers that occupy parliament have called in the police to investigate the leak/whistle blower. Fortunately it seems that some public spirited person has seen fit to report Mr McNulty to the police for having “obtained pecuniary advantage by deception’ prompting an investigation there at least. But at least we can all rest happy knowing that in this difficult time the great and ‘good’ have now got a special help line to help them deal with us being miffed at discovering just how much they’ve been stealing from us. Strangely though it seems Tony’s receipts and such have gone missing.
Given that the news of the screws is running a contest to live like an MP I think it’s safe to say that this at least will reach the general consciousness even if the general curtailment of our liberties and other matters haven’t. And whilst we can’t recall our MP’s voices within the realm political are starting to call for the current corrupt abusive mass to be dissolved (I’d favour a strong acid bath for the lot of them , followed by a deep pit and quick lime). It must surely be time for the all to go, but at least if Gordon publishes their outside interests as as well we’ll know who to vote for.
Just on the off chance you’ve not seen it already guido has a decent round up, and another excellent analysis from Andrew Rawnsley (Via Plato)
Update: It seems that Kelvin Hopkins MP is another good ‘un (Hat tip: Ranting Penguin)